Ali leaning forward in wheelchair with black pants and hand up to chin with no shirt on showing a serious face with blonde hair and background of whitewall

Despite my quirky exterior and rosy attitude as many seem to comment on, I, too, really struggle at times.  Honestly, who doesn’t?  It’s human nature.

Many of you know my life’s purpose and mission is to help other humans in a range of different capacities, but with so many tremendous personal things going on in my own life at present — I was overcome for a few hours with this incredible feeling of heartbreak.

Heartbreak for what you might ask?

Movement. My body. Jumping. Hiking. Wiggling my toes.  Popping out of bed to get dressed by myself.  Hugging someone at eye level.  Running into the ocean.

I was speaking with someone who had just gone on this beautiful hike around the world and while I was elated with happiness for her, my mind jumped instantly back to 13 years ago on a hike I was taking in Maui, Hawaii.

I was in this bamboo forest preceding to hike up a waterfall.  It was a grueling, invigorating, and a gorgeous hike for 6 hours.  After hiking up a mountain through miles of bamboo, we reached this waterfall where my group ripped off their close and we jumped feet first into the water. 

I then started thinking about how I will never do this again with a loved one, partner, friend, or family.  Of course, I go on adaptive traveling adventures, and they are fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not quite the same.

I accepted my reality years ago and I make the best out of every moment, but today, you know what, I was just plain heartbroken for a few hours.  I usually fight the feeling of heartbreak and just push through with resilience and determination. 

Ali in beach wheelchair in the Bahamas with white sand and Bluewater in the background covered with sarong

My coping mechanism is definitely dark humor, perseverance, and being determined to fight through even the most seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  Operating in military survival mode is actually a cakewalk for me, but sometimes sitting with my own emotions is much more challenging. 

I think it is a great coping mechanism because I could have turned to drugs or alcohol, but it also comes with its own set of challenges.

However, there are moments when you really just have to sit with the sadness.  When someone passes away, when you get a life altering diagnosis, when you break your neck, when life changes on a dime, etc.  it’s really hard to sit with grief or sadness.  I’m not brilliant at it, but have been working tremendously on it.  Thankfully, after a few hours I’m usually back to my bubbly self or within a day at most.  This is just who I am now.  Everyone has their own grieving techniques and it comes and goes at the most inopportune times unfortunately.

Every part of my body just was paralyzed with emotion in this particular moment. The physical was the least of my challenges.

So, you know what I did?

picture of Ali on couch with arms folded underneath knees in upright position.  Black-and-white photo with strong covering body, straight blonde hair with exposed arms

I accepted that day is just a day. Not a tragic day, not a great day, but just a day I have to get through. This advice I received from a very dear friend of mine.

One of my strange superpowers is handling a tremendous amount of anxiety and a million things being thrown being my way simultaneously without crumbling. I don’t know why I have the skill, but I suppose life prepared me for it in different ways. This still doesn’t mean I’m infallible.

Listen, I truly believe in positivity and consistently growing, but sometimes you just have to sit with the pain of a moment or an hour or a day. That’s okay. That’s life. That’s the human condition.

That day – the human condition took hold of me, truthfully it stayed with me for a few days, but then I moved forward. 

I think it’s so important that we as people, professionally and personally, learn to be a little bit rawer and more authentic with each other because when people ask you how you are…

Do you know what I’m “FINE” means? Or so I was told by a few individuals:

“Fucked up, insecure, needy and emotional”

Sometimes it’s perfectly okay to say to someone: “You know what today I’m not great, but I appreciate you asking!”

image of Ali from waste up in wheelchair with neon tank top, lime green earrings, blonde hair down with arm on neck

This certainly doesn’t mean you need to get into details, but when you consistently bottle up your life at times, which leads to lack of wellness, burnout, and so many other physiological ailments to boot … Your body will tell you and make you stop.  Literally.  People who deal with long-term anxiety and depression get physically sick as an example.

Let’s just take a moment of empathy after reading this post and reach out to one person you know who may be going through a tough day or a tough time to tell them you’re thinking about them.  This speaks directly to emotional intelligence, which I will dive into in another post.

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